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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

December 4: Biden’s Popular Vote Margin Reaches Seven Million

A lot of people have understandably stopped watching election returns trickle in. But they matter, as I explained at New York:

As Donald Trump continues to complain that he actually won, Joe Biden’s popular vote lead over the 45th president keeps growing to more and more impressive levels. He and Kamala Harris now have won more than 81 million votes, or over 10 million more than Barack Obama and Biden won in 2008, the previous high-water mark.

On Thursday, Biden’s popular vote margin over Trump passed the 7 million vote mark, well over twice the 2.9 million margin won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. From a percentage point of view, Biden leads by 4.4 percent — again, well over twice the 2.1 percent margin won by Clinton over Trump four years ago, and also more than the 3.9 percent by which Obama and Biden defeated Mitt Romney in 2012. It’s also higher than the popular vote percentage margins of the winners in 2004, 2000, 1976, 1968, and 1960. 2020 was by no means a landslide, of course, but from a popular-vote perspective it was the next best thing.

The Biden-Harris ticket’s 51.3 percent of the popular vote is pretty impressive, too. It’s higher than the 51.1 percent he and Obama won in 2012, and with the exception of the 52.9 percent they won in 2008, it’s the highest for any Democratic presidential ticket dating all the way back to Lyndon Johnson’s defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964 (and before that, you have to go back to FDR in 1944 to find its equal).

If we didn’t have the abomination of the Electoral College, the Biden-Harris win would have looked comfortable, not uncomfortably close. Democrats should enjoy it a bit more than they have, and focus on hoping that Georgia will not only give Biden’s party its 16 electoral votes on December 14 when they are finally cast, but also control of the Senate if Democrats win two runoffs on January 5.

If that happens, many of the frowns over disappointing down-ballot results will turn to smiles.

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